Motivation is like happiness - the more you pursue it directly, the further away it gets... When we lack motivation in the workplace, we tend to pursue either a fancy title, meow autonomy, or more money. But none of those are motivating - not in the long term.
Meaning leads to sustained motivation. Most people thin you can only find meaning, but you can actually create meaning wherever you are.
How do you create meaning? First, identify your Mission. This is your legacy. This is what makes you come alive, the contribution you want to leave, why you believe you were put on this earth. And second, once you identify your mission, you can look at where you are presently and ask, "What can I do here today to help me achieve that tomorrow? What can I do here today to help me get to where I want to be tomorrow?"
Learn the step-by-step process of leadership development, personal growth, and relationship management.
- How to Identify and Manage your emotions
- How to understand and work through the emotions of others
- Establish long-term self-motivation
- Conquer Imposter Syndrome
Opportunity Switch, Audio Book
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What I was 15 years old, I was suicidal...
My family was about to fall apart, my personal life was a mess, and I didn't have any close friends to talk with...
Months went by, and I couldn't take it any more...
I made a plan, and the day came. I went into my room and turned up the radio to block out any noise.
I'll never forget the song that played. "Meant to Live" by Switchfoot, with a chorus that goes...
"We were meant to live for so much more. Have we lost ourselves? We were meant to live."
My skin went cold and I couldn't move, tears welling up.
For the next two hours, I couldn't stop crying.
That one song gave me hope. A few months later, I decided to join a band, with the mission to create songs for those who felt alone. To write music that impacted people's lives, the way "Meant to Live" impacted mine.
Now, you can bet I gave my all to the music I played. Why?
Because I found it meaningful. I wasn't just playing drums and writing songs. I was helping people through the darkest times in their lives.
There are two types of work: Work that is inherently meaningful, and work that is abstractly meaningful.
Inherently meaningful work is work that's meaningful because of the nature of the work - the job in and of itself is meaningful.
Great examples of this could be a firefighter, a police officer, or a heart surgeon.
If your work is inherently meaningful, then the only thing you need to do is see that connection. Once you do, work becomes meaningful.
However, that doesn't imply that only inherently meaningful work has meaning.
The second type of work is work that's indirectly meaningful. My drumming is an example of indirectly meaningful work – work that's meaningful, because of the meaning you find within it.
How do you find passion in your work?
Indirectly meaningful work is nearly every other work out there. In fact, I have yet to find a single industry where indirectly meaningful work doesn't apply.
The passion for the work comes from the meaning behind the work, or what the work allows for one to do.
Imagine employees who are on a manufacturer line at a car company. Their job is to screw in door panels.
That's all they do. Eight hours a day, five days a week. That's it.
Now, who do you think is going to be more passionate about their job:
Person A just screws in the door panels and that's it. Day in, day out. He works, takes the paycheck, and that's it. There is no meaning for the job, outside of getting the paycheck.
Or person B, who looks at this and says, "You know what? This job teaches me discipline and focus, allows me to put my daughter through college, and it's helping me provide for my family."
Who's going to be more involved in that job?
Who is going to show up to work with passion each day? Person B. And this is no surprise.
These two people could literally be standing next to each other, yet one of them found meaning in the work and the other didn't.
We all know that meaningful work leads to passionate work.
But what we may not realize is that WE CAN CREATE OUR OWN MEANING.
How do you create meaning?1.
Identify Your Mission
Take a step back, look at your life and say, "Where do I want to go? What is the legacy that I want to leave? What do I want my life to look like when I am 60? When I'm 80? If I make to 100, what do I want my life to look like? What do I want to leave for other people? What is that legacy?2.
Find Your Mission, in the Present
Once you identify your mission, you can look at where you are presently and ask, "What can I do here today to help me achieve that tomorrow? What can I do here today to help me get to where I want to be tomorrow?"